I’m angry and it’s all about donuts and Canada and the US Constitution.
Which, funny enough, are all things I love (or at least really like).
So what’s the problem? The problem is one person forcing their beliefs on another. I don’t think that’s OK. In fact I think it’s about the least OK thing a person could do.
How does that relate to donuts, Canada and the US Constitution?
Currently I can’t see how, as a rule, it would ever be better to force your belief on someone. However I can imagine times where in order to secure or retain Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness you may need to do some forcing. Laws, after all, are a kind of forcing and no one is saying there isn’t a need for law, at least I’m not saying that.
What I am saying is that in general there are only two ways to move on the spectrum of Human Liberty…towards more or towards less and if you’re ever going to move towards less shouldn’t there be a definitive, clear, logical and caring reason why you would impose more force in order to attain more liberty? There’s nothing wrong with feeling disgusted, offended, angry, indignant and there’s plenty to make us all feel those things, but we should not be making decisions with our TOOL of government only because we feel that way.
Don’t we need to be able to have strong disagreements and still come up with the best course of action as a society. This would mean we must be willing to discuss, challenge, argue, engage and be engaged. We must be less afraid of ideas and strong enough and connected enough to admit if we were wrong in our thinking or our assumptions. I both hate and love being wrong about my assumptions, my ego hates it and my soul loves it because my ego takes a hit and my soul grows.
And how do donuts and Canada fit in?
Tim Horton’s Donuterie (my word) and Coffee shop, a Canadian Company, has had some franchisee’s, including the founders children, roll back employee benefits because of the implementation of the minimum wage law by the government. Here’s a quick aside: What happens if an employee doesn’t like the job situation at Tim Horton’s? Yes, they can leave, protest and basically behave in any legal way they want. What happens if Tim Horton’s disobey’s a law from the government? They can get handcuffed and go to jail or lose their business.
I am on the side of not being handcuffed and going to jail. I am on the side of not being forced to act on something you don’t believe by threat of jail. I am on the side of being able to leave, protest or whatever if you don’t like something.
What I’ve found with this Tim Horton’s thing is so much noise on social media about how bad these owners are, how they’re greedy pigs, corporate soul suckers and on and on an on. All because they, #1 disagreed with being forced, by threat of jail or the forced closure of their business, to raise the minimum wage and #2 when they accepted the minimum wage hike they cut costs elsewhere to make up for it, which is what businesses do to survive.
From where I’m sitting the vitriol against Tim Horton’s looks like a bunch of angry people saying to business people that they don’t care about anyone but themselves and shouldn’t be in business at all. And most of this is coming from people who have never owned a business or made a payroll. This would be much less worse if it were only noise on social media, but it’s actually driving policy by force.
It is possible that some people don’t actually understand how business works and they think there are no effects to to increased costs? Sure, but in that case isn’t it better to chose the soul over the ego and learn about basic business fundamentals before raging that owners don’t care about anyone but themselves when they cut a cost to cover an increased cost. The other, more disturbing reason I hear for wanting to force something on someone occurs when people realize the owners of a company have achieved millionaire or billionaire status, and by that reason alone they aught to be forced to do something they don’t believe in.
What kind of world is it where the judgement to force someone else to do something they don’t want to do is justified only by someone else’s anger over that persons wealth. Take a moment and think about where that leads. If a small group or even a single person can force another to do something just because they don’t like how much money they are making or worse because another person is feeling a certain way about the person making money that is not a nice future. Feelings change.
Remember it’s our TOOL of government that has the monopoly on force by threat of jail or worse. Everyone else has the legal right to be pissed and offended and to leave and protest and do whatever they want. So in the case of Tim Horton’s, might it suck for employees to have benefits cut (it’s debatable but for my purposes let’s say it does suck and it’s actually important that it sucks)? Yes it sucks. But what’s the answer to this sucking? And what’s the context of this sucking? Don’t a lot of things suck? Doesn’t life sometimes suck? Doesn’t life sometimes suck with a million government regulations? Doesn’t life sometimes suck with 0 government regulations (well we actually don’t know about that)?
Life can and does suck at times no matter what we do.
So the question is do we force someone else to do something they don’t want to do to make it suck less, or do we figure out how to make it suck less without using force. This is a huge question and when I look at the example of Tim Horton’s and minimum wage imposition this is how it relates. It’s not about specifics of how Tim Horton’s decides to operate it’s business or about how much money someone has or doesn’t have. Or how angry you may feel or how unjust you may think things are or how people need help or don’t need help. It’s about using force of jail or worse to achieve a result and about being smart and empathetic enough to understand the only possible result of a doctrine that holds force as it’s primary motivating factor.
Again, I am not advocating for no law, no regulations, no government. I am advocating for a more difficult, uncomfortable, ego killing, soul enriching course of action that recognizes as a founding principle that forcing people to do things they don’t want to do, by threat of jail or worse is NOT a good way to achieve less sucking in the world.
And I guess in the end, the reason I got so pissed about this was because I felt resource less in the face of what seemed like such intense hypocrisy by people slamming business owners for trying to do business. These same people showed no recognition of their own responsibility in contributing to the very wealth that they deride. What was worse was to witness first hand how intellectually shallow these same people behaved when asked to engage in or even consider debate, to see how they held themselves, to themselves, to such a high moral standard, it was as if they were self-anointed and their ideas were beyond debate and therefor anyone challenging them is a lesser person. What else is the justification for turning debate personal?
What I realized was that these people aren’t different from me in the sense that they also feel resource-less and afraid in the face of such big questions and big sucking in the world. And that might be what’s both hopeful and hopeless, that maybe we actually all want less sucking in the world.
The problem is that real force is being applied and real people are being hurt and it’s not the people they think, it’s not the owners and CEO’s and millionaires and billionaires being hurt by minimum wage law and by government sanctioned force. It’s the “little people” the vulnerable people, the people that they say are in need of the most help, the people that they say they are helping by encouraging force.
This trait of the ego, of being right, of feeling morally superior is a very bad trait to have. Very bad. I speak from experience but if I can wade through it, anyone can and I’m thankful to have experienced the moral vitriol because it helped me get more clear about where the real solutions lie. So thank you to that crowd and I invite any and all who are interested in challenging their belief system and their ego, myself included to engage. Anger is OK as long as it’s recognized and not the only motivating factor in making decisions that affect the whole of our society.
Thank you for reading.